Discuss how the War of Granada was a dynastic, territorial, and religious war: Claim:      2. Immediate and long-term causes: Claim 1: Previous leaders The previous conquests of leaders in the Iberian Peninsula were the primary reason for Isabella and Ferdinand’s continued focus on Granada. There were extensive conquests of Fernando III of Castile and James I of Aragon expelled moorish rule from all but a tiny foothold in Iberia, with the Emirate of Granada clinging to the southeastern tip of the peninsula. When Isabella and Ferdinand’s rule came along, they wanted to complete this work which had previously been taking place. This idea, added to Isabella’s devotion to her religion would be what drove them to start the war and expel the Moors from the Iberian Peninsula. Claim 2: Zahara The night attack that took place at Zahara was a crucial factor in sparking Ferdinand and Isabella’s drive for starting the war. On December 26, 1481, Abul Hassan, the king of Granada at the time launched a surprise attack on the town of Zahara, which was nearby Ronda. His army demolished the Christian garrison and took its population into slavery.

This attack sparked the start of the Reconquista, because there had been many others just like it, which had been taking place for about 700 years or so. It led to Spain’s unification, because the forces would unite in order to prevent future attacks like these from taking place. Ferdinand and Isabella did not want to lose many more Christians or even have them taken into slavery by the Moors, so they understood what the only way to prevent that from happening would be, which was to go to war and reclaim those lands that they had lost to the Moorish emirate.      3. Role of significant leaders on both sides: Claim 1: Boabdil as an ally Boabdil was a useful ally in the fight for Granada because of his access to the throne and potential for power as Granada’s leader. Boabdil went back to Granada and wanted to fight both his father and uncle for the throne, only contributing to the succession problems that Granada was already facing with its previous rulers. These problems also contributed to the Muslims fighting each other, which would only end up weakening them before the Christian forces arrived. Once he had established himself as the ruler of Granada, Boabdil eventually became an ally of the Spanish.

This was important in the overall conquest, especially for Granada, because establishing him as an ally was a positive outcome for the Spanish. This would allow them to get closer to him and learn and eventually exploit his weaknesses in order to gain the throne. Establishing foreign trust would make him less defensive against the Christian forces, giving them easier access to what they wanted, which is the land that he controlled.

Claim 2: Ferdinand and Isabella’s importance Ferdinand and Isabella’s overall presence during the war contributed significantly to the unification of their forces. Since they were constantly keeping track of their forces, whether it be on the battlefield or prior to a battle, Ferdinand and Isabella had a way of maintaining order among the ranks.      4. Taxation: Claim 1: Internal fighting and taxes The internal fighting in Granada due to the changes in succession resulted in the economy declining and increased taxes.

After Emir Yusuf III died in 1417, there were problems with succession and this ensured that Granada would be in a constant civil war. The clan loyalties were stronger than the population’s loyalty to the Emir, which made it more difficult to strengthen the power. Due to these struggles, it appeared as if Granada was going to end up remaining in a constant civil war. The internal fighting in Granada led to a weakening of the state, and as a result, the economy declined. Although the economy was getting progressively weaker, taxes were still going to continue being imposed at the previous rates, due to Granada’s vast quantity of defenses and its large army.

Claim 2: Military Service: Claim 1: Isabella recruiting soldiers Isabella’s choice to recruit only the best suited forces for the upcoming battles, proved to be beneficial for the Reconquista because of their experience and knowledge of the terrain. Isabella utilized three means of recruitment for the army, feudal levies (unfortunately their independence combined with their lack of discipline made them unreliable overall). Next, she turned her attention to the already established Knighthood: Claim 1: Knights in the Reconquista Mercenaries: Claim 1:     5. Organization of the war: Claim 1: The Spanish strategy The overall Spanish strategy on how to conquer Granada laid the foundation for how Ferdinand was going to lead his troops to victory.

The Spanish strategy itself was primarily based on establishing naval bases on the southern coast of Granada, blockading the coastline, and eventually cutting it completely off from contact with Morocco, which would lead to devastating Granada itself. Keeping these goals in mind, Ferdinand ended up resorting to the policy of treating each town or castle which surrendered with moderation, and each that did not, would be treated with rigor once it was finally taken. This was the motivation that allowed Ferdinand to stay committed to his end goal of conquering Granada.

His knowledge of the terrain was also useful, because it allowed him to be able to command his forces accordingly, while also cutting off the enemy’s contact with any potential allies. Claim 2: The initial sieges Ferdinand’s initial campaigns in his conquest for Granada were crucial, because they allowed him and his forces to be able to proceed with the conquest and establish fear in his Moorish enemies. In 1485, Ferdinand and his army set out on their initial campaign of conquest. Keeping to his original plan of how he would conquer Granada, his first two goals were to occupy Málaga and Almeria with the goal of cutting off Granada from Africa. Once all of the cities were taken that surrounded it, Málaga was last. However, the Moors would not give up this city because it was what they considered to be one of the last important cities that they had left for themselves.

In order for the Christians to be able to secure Málaga, they needed to first occupy Marbella, for the purposes of obtaining a base for the Castilian fleet, Claim 3: The importance of the fall of Málaga The fall of Málaga was the most important aspect of the entire war, because it was the chief port of Granada, contributing to its overall downfall. Isabella inspired fear in the Moors, since in terms of how they lived, women tended to be locked away harams, but instead she was fierceless with her Christian beliefs and was not on a path to stopping anytime soon. Her plan was to join the Christian camp in mid-May 1487, and she planned on remaining in the city until it fell.

This caused mass panic amongst the Moors, and word quickly spread of Isabella’s plan. This meant that the Moors had no choice but to surrender the city over, which took place on August 18, and a majority of the city’s population was enslaved, and many of them were sent to Morocco in exchange for Christian prisoners. The leader of the city, Hamet Ali, was executed following the fall of the city and Ferdinand was able to make an example out of him so that the remaining cities would understand the price they would have to pay if they disobeyed the King of Aragon and Queen of Castile. Isabella and Ferdinand had specific reasons for why they were conquering cities in the order that they chose, one of them being that it was beneficial to the overall war and its outcome.

Ferdinand and Isabella made sure that the war took place in this manner and order because of the specific strategy that they had planned and set out to accomplish since the beginning of the war. In other words, in order for the Christians to take Granada, everything that was around it had to be taken first. This was because doing so would work to accomplish the goal of cutting off Granada’s overall contact with its allies in Africa for any potential assistance. If Granada had virtually no way of communicating with its allies, then it would not be able to receive any help in the war and would have to resort to surrendering like its neighbors. Claim 4: Role of logistics and tactics in the course and practice of the war: Claim 1: Use of artillery by the Christians The effective use of artillery by the Christians to rapidly take over towns allowed them to conquer Granada with more speed. By 1495, the kingdoms of Castile and Aragon had control of about 179 pieces of artillery total, and this was seen as a vast increase from the previous numbers that were seen in the War of Castilian Succession. Heavy cavalry and the use of arquebuses only proved to be useful to a smaller degree; however, light cavalry was what took on a more pertinent role in the fighting instead. Having the best prepared men for the upcoming fighting was crucial since Ferdinand and Isabella were already aware of the terrain, which meant they would also have the knowledge about which soldiers would be the best suited for winning the war and having the least amount of trouble in the mostly mountainous terrain.

Another benefit of the decision of employing a large amount of cavalry was that it ended up speeding up the process of the fighting. Claim 2:     6. Role of women: Claim 1: Isabella’s role in unifying the armies   Since Isabella was able to unite her forces, they had more of a goal upon which to base the war and conquest. When the war began, one of the main problems she faced was finding a single factor that would allow her to combine her forces into one unit. Combined with the fact that there was not actually any political unity during this time, the soldiers had no national spirit to build on. In order to try and combat this problem, Isabella decided to base the war on more of a religious motive.

In other words, she substituted the idea of a crusade, rather than a war of political liberation, which is what the real goal was. Her decision was a positive one, because the forces would now have a common goal to fight for, spreading their religion. This idea would go together with her forces believing that what they were doing would earn them rewards from God, since it was in the name of religion, which was not an uncommon belief at the time.

The religious “spirit” that united the armies would also allow the Reconquista and War of Granada to gain additional support from others, including prominent religious figures. This is because they, like the soldiers, would have the belief of the war having a positive motive, and would want to support it and give it increased funding. Claim 2: Isabella’s secret agreement with Boabdil:  Isabella’s ability to make decisions on her own without Ferdinand’s assistance allowed her to gain support from outside forces, facilitating the idea and goal of victory.

Boabdil had previously written to Isabella, telling her of how he had the chance to overtake the Granadan throne from El Zagal, on one condition. He was in need of troops, arms, and provisions in order to accomplish this task. Isabella complied and sent forces to show her support. With this help, Boabdil was able to lock El Zagal out of Granada, allowing him to declare himself as the new king.

On April 29, 1487, he wrote another letter to Isabella informing her of his success against his uncle and confirming his obedience that he had previously told her of in Loja. Isabella and Boabdil were also able to reach an agreement, since she suggested that he would surrender Granada, in exchange for other areas in the eastern part of the kingdom. Isabella was able to make Boabdil her and Ferdinand’s secret ally with this agreement, which would serve to help them in the War of Granada because they would now have direct access to the land and area itself. Claim 3: Isabella’s family Since Isabella descended from a long line of Castile’s conquering kings, she knew from a young age that she had to complete what they started, which inspired her passion for the Reconquista. An example of a relative from Isabella’s lineage is Saint Fernando III, who had taken Cordoba and Sevilla from the Muhammadans. Isabella was highly devoted to her religion, which also contributed to her sudden interest in conquering the last remaining Moorish emirate, based in Granada. She immediately started preparing because she was aware that conquering Granada would be no easy task in itself.

She knew that there were allies close by, which would potentially be able to provide assistance to those in Granada at the time. Regardless of the obstacles Isabella knew that her and Ferdinand’s forces would ultimately face, she was able to focus on her goal much like her predecessors, which was to take back Granada once and for all. Claim 4: Isabella’s other preparations for the war effort Besides the initial preparations that she had made for the war effort, such as recruitment, the preparations that she had made during the war effort were crucial in the overall Spanish success because they were helpful for Ferdinand and his forces throughout the battles. Isabella introduced two novel organizations, a corps of field messengers and a medical service.

She had many tents that were supplied for the wounded, and this instance was also observed as being the earliest recorded case of anything that was resembling a modern field hospital. Isabella’s help on the field itself in this instance was important, since she could have soldiers taken care of right away on the battlefield, instead of having them taken away, which meant that this solution was highly efficient. She also supplied field messengers, making it easier for communication on the battlefield. These were two overall beneficial decisions that Isabella made in terms of furthering and speeding up the war effort. Claim 5: Isabella’s knowledge of siege warfare Since Isabella had prior knowledge about siege warfare, she was able to make the proper decisions regarding the terrain and type of warfare and building her and Ferdinand’s army appropriately.

She knew that cavalry would prove to be of little use during siege warfare, due to the few roads and many castles, which were built on the tops of hills or the edges of cliffs, and these could not have been affected particularly until the further development of cannons. Since cannons also required good roads in order for them to be transported, Isabella instead chose to turn her attention and focus on artillery, engineers, and infantry. She was able to make this decision because of her knowledge of siege warfare and what was required of it. Using this knowledge, she was able to recruit the best and necessary soldiers for the job, giving the Spanish army a considerable amount of advantages in terms of their military and supplies.

7. Role of Treaties/Truces: Claim 1: Truce with Boabdil The initial truce that was made with Boabdil had positive strategic effects for Ferdinand and Isabella in terms of securing Granada. The Count of Cabra had captured Boabdil while he was attempting to seize the town of Lucena, which was nearby Loja. When Ferdinand heard of this, he decided to assemble a war council at Cordova. They ultimately came to the conclusion of releasing Boabdil and sending him on his way back to Granada on the condition that he would be binded to the Spanish cause, which would also lead the the continuation of the internal Moorish conflicts that had been taking place. A truce lasting about two years was granted to Boabdil on the conditions that he paid 12,000 gold doubloons each year to the Spanish, allowed their troops to pass freely through his territory so that they could only continue the war against his father and uncle, and surrendered his son as a hostage. He chose to accept these terms and as a result, Granada as a kingdom would be split in two, which would therefore facilitate destroying each side.

This meant that it would be significantly easier for Ferdinand and Isabella to take control of Granada, since it would be divided. All that they would depend on now was their tactics and their fighting forces, which Ferdinand and Isabella would increase their focus on in order to take advantage of Boabdil’s misfortune. Claim 2:


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